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How to Install Bluetooth Audio in Your Car? (With Car Stereo Tips)

Are you tired of having to plug your phone in for music or audio while on the road? You don’t have to struggle with cords anymore.

Installing Bluetooth audio in your car is simpler than ever, and within an hour, you can be rocking out wirelessly, but how to do it right? Let’s find out.

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To install Bluetooth audio in your car, you will need to gather the necessary tools, such as a Bluetooth adapter and a wiring kit, and then follow the steps to connect the adapter to your car’s stereo system:

#1. Locate the wiring harness in your car and connect the wiring kit to it.

#2. Plug the Bluetooth adapter into the wiring kit and connect it to the stereo system using RCA cables.

#3. Pair your phone with the adapter and enjoy hands-free calls and wireless music streaming.

As an Amazon Associate, ImproveCarAudio will receive a small commission from qualifying purchases made through the links in this article.

Tip: For the best results, consider purchasing a high-quality Bluetooth adapter like the Nulaxy Bluetooth Transmitter or a head unit with advanced Bluetooth features like the Pioneer MVH1400NEX (links to Amazon).

These devices will provide a stable and precise connection to your phone or other Bluetooth devices.

In this article, I will walk you through the process of adding Bluetooth functionality to your car’s audio system so that you can enjoy hands-free phone calls and wireless music streaming.

Preparing for Installation

Installing Bluetooth in your car can be a bit intimidating, but don’t worry. With some preparation and the right tools, you’ll be streaming music in your car in no time. Here’s what you need to know before getting started.

Gathering the Necessary Tools and Equipment

First, let’s ensure you have everything you need to get the job done. Here’s a list of the tools and equipment you’ll need:

  • A Bluetooth adapter specifically designed for your car stereo
  • A screwdriver
  • Electrical tape
  • A multimeter (optional)

It’s important to understand the wiring setup in your vehicle before you start installing Bluetooth adapter. This will make it easier to know where to connect the wires and how to properly ground the device.

To help with this, it may be a good idea to look up a wiring diagram for stereo. This will show you where each wire goes and what it does.

The next thing you have to do is to decide how you will connect it. With so many different options, choosing the correct Bluetooth adapter for your car can be challenging.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your selection:

  • Compatibility with your car’s stereo
  • Audio quality
  • Additional features such as GPS and FM transmitter
  • Ease of installation
  • Price

Once you have all the tools and equipment you need and have a good understanding of your vehicle’s wiring setup, you’ll be ready to start installing Bluetooth adapter.

Whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or a complete beginner, preparing properly will make the installation much smoother.

Adding Bluetooth to a Car Stereo with Built-in Bluetooth

A stereo with built-in Bluetooth is a great way to add Bluetooth audio to your car.

The head unit is the central component of a car audio system, and having one with built-in Bluetooth means that you can connect your phone or other Bluetooth-enabled devices directly to the head unit without the need for any additional components.

This simplifies the installation process and saves money, as you don’t have to buy a separate Bluetooth adapter.

Pioneer MVH1400NEX 6.2 Inches B07951J34N

A head unit with built-in Bluetooth also offers a variety of other features and benefits.

For example, you can enjoy hands-free calling, music streaming, and GPS navigation directly through your car’s audio system. Additionally, some head units with built-in Bluetooth have a USB port, allowing you to charge your phone or connect to other devices.

If your car’s stereo already has built-in Bluetooth, here’s how to add Bluetooth audio to the vehicle:

#1. Make sure your Bluetooth-enabled device is charged and turned on.

#2. Turn on your car’s engine.

#3. Locate the source button on Bluetooth receiver and press it until you reach the Bluetooth source.

#4. Put Bluetooth-enabled device in pairing mode.

#5. Select your device from the list of available Bluetooth devices on your car’s head unit.

#6. Enter the pairing code (if required) and follow the on-screen instructions.

#7. Once your device is paired, you should be able to play music and make hands-free calls through your car’s audio system.

Tips and Tricks for a Successful Installation

Here are a few tips and tricks to help ensure a successful installation of Bluetooth audio in your vehicle:

#1. Make sure Bluetooth-enabled device is compatible with your Bluetooth receiver. Check the manual or the manufacturer’s website for compatible devices.

#2. Make sure your car’s head unit is updated with the latest software. This can improve the performance and stability of the Bluetooth connection.

#3. Place a Bluetooth-enabled device where it can easily receive and transmit Bluetooth signals. For example, avoid placing it near metal objects or in a position where other devices or materials may obscure it.

#4. If you experience any issues with the Bluetooth connection, try resetting your device together with the Bluetooth receiver and then re-pairing them.

Following these tips and tricks, you can successfully add Bluetooth audio to your car and enjoy hands-free calling, music streaming, and GPS navigation directly through your car’s audio system.

Adding Bluetooth to a Head Unit without Built-in Bluetooth

If your stereo doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth, don’t worry, there are several ways to add Bluetooth audio to your vehicle.

Nulaxy Wireless in-Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter Radio Adapter Car Kit W 1.44 Inch Display Supports TF/SD Card and USB Car Charger for All Smartphones Audio Players-KM18

One of the most popular options is to install a universal Bluetooth adapter. This type of adapter can be installed on almost any car radio and allows you to stream music from your phone wirelessly to your car’s speakers.

Another option is to buy a new stereo with built-in Bluetooth. But if you don’t want to replace your current radio, a Bluetooth adapter is a more cost-effective solution.

There are many different Bluetooth adapters available in the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Universal Bluetooth Adapters:

#1. Easy to install: Most universal Bluetooth adapters can be easily installed on your radio.

#2. Affordable: This is more cost-effective than buying a new stereo.

#3. Wide compatibility: Universal Bluetooth adapters can work with most head units, making it a versatile solution.

Disadvantages of Universal Bluetooth Adapters:

#1. Quality: The quality of the audio you receive may be lower compared to a new car stereo with built-in Bluetooth.

#2. Compatibility issues: Some car stereos may not work well with all Bluetooth adapters, so it’s important to research before purchasing.

Advantages of Buying a New Car Stereo with Built-in Bluetooth:

#1. High-quality audio: The audio quality is typically much better compared to using a Bluetooth adapter.

#2. Convenient: Built-in Bluetooth eliminates the need to install a separate adapter.

Disadvantages of Buying a New Car Stereo with Built-in Bluetooth:

#1. Expensive: Replacing your stereo can be a costly solution.

#2. Installation: Installing a new radio can be a complex process, especially if you’re not experienced with car audio gear.

If you decide to go with the Bluetooth adapter, here are a few steps to follow:

#1. Choose the suitable adapter for your stereo: Research the compatibility of the transmitter with your car radio before purchasing.

#2. Disconnect the battery: Before installing, disconnect the battery to prevent any electrical damage.

#3. Connect the adapter to car stereo: Connect the Bluetooth adapter to your stereo using the appropriate cable.

#4. Install the Bluetooth adapter: Mount the Bluetooth adapter securely in your vehicle. In most cases, it will be a cigarette lighter but sometimes, depending on the model you have, you may need to connect it to the harness.

#5. Pair your phone with the Bluetooth adapter: Follow the instructions that came with the Bluetooth adapter to pair your phone with it.

#6. Start streaming music: Once your phone is paired with the Bluetooth adapter, you can start streaming music from your phone to your car’s speakers.

Connecting the Bluetooth Adapter to Your Vehicle’s Wiring Harness

Connecting a Bluetooth adapter to your vehicle’s wiring harness can seem like a daunting task, but you can do it pretty quickly. In most cases, you have to follow the installation manual and connect it to the radio harness.

When installing a Bluetooth adapter in the car, you need to choose a suitable wiring kit.

The wiring kit you need will depend on the make and model of your vehicle and the type of car stereo you have. Some popular brands that offer wiring kits include Scosche and PAC. 

You can easily find the right wiring kit for any car by searching for it online or visiting your local auto parts store.

Once you’ve got your hands on the correct wiring kit, it’s time to connect it to your car’s wiring harness. The process of connecting the wiring kit can vary depending on the type of kit you have, but the basic steps are usually the same.

Here’s a general outline of what you’ll need to do:

#1. Locate the wiring harness in car: In most cars, the wiring harness is located behind the head unit.

#2. Disconnect the battery: Before you start working on your car’s wiring, it’s a good idea to disconnect the battery so that you don’t accidentally damage any of the components.

#3. Connect the wiring kit: Once you’ve found the wiring harness, it’s time to connect the wiring kit. This will typically involve matching the colors of the wires in the wiring kit to the wires in the harness and using wire connectors to join the two, but again follow the manual for your specific model.

#4. Install the Bluetooth adapter: Once you have the wiring kit connected to the harness, you can install the Bluetooth adapter. This will usually involve plugging the adapter into the back of the head unit and connecting it to the wiring kit.

#5. Test the connection: Finally, it’s time to test the connection to make sure everything is working properly. Turn the car on and try connecting your phone or other devices to the Bluetooth adapter.

If everything is working correctly, you should be able to stream music or make hands-free calls through your car’s audio system.

Pairing Your Phone with the Bluetooth Adapter

So, you’ve successfully added Bluetooth to your car stereo without a built-in Bluetooth feature.

The next step is to pair your phone with the Bluetooth adapter to enjoy a hands-free phone setup while driving. Here’s what you need to know about setting up the Bluetooth adapter and pairing your phone.

Setting up the Bluetooth adapter:

#1. Before you start, make sure you have the right type of Bluetooth adapter installed in your car.

#2. Follow the instructions with the adapter to power the device and set it up.

#3. The process may vary depending on the brand and model, but it usually involves connecting the device to a power source, such as the car’s cigarette lighter socket or the USB port.

#4. Next, you need to activate Bluetooth on your phone. Go to your phone’s Bluetooth settings and turn it on.

Pairing your phone with the Bluetooth adapter:

#1. Once the Bluetooth adapter is set up and your phone’s Bluetooth is on, you should see it in your Bluetooth list of available devices.

#2. Select the Bluetooth adapter and follow the on-screen instructions to pair your phone with the device.

#3. If prompted, enter a code on your phone to complete the pairing process.

Once your phone is paired with the Bluetooth adapter, you’ll be able to make and receive calls, listen to music, and access other audio content from your phone through the car’s stereo system.

The best part about having a hands-free phone setup in your car is that you don’t have to fiddle with your phone while driving. Instead, you can keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

Additionally, some Bluetooth adapters come with built-in voice control, allowing you to control your phone using voice commands.

A hands-free phone setup in your car is also safer, as it eliminates the need to hold your phone while driving, which is illegal in many countries.

Improving Car Audio Quality with a Bluetooth Adapter

When you’ve installed a Bluetooth adapter in your car, you may want to improve the audio quality of car audio system.

There are several ways to enhance the sound quality of car audio when using a Bluetooth adapter.

Enhancing the Sound Quality of Your Car’s Audio System

#1. Upgrade your speakers: Upgrading car speakers can make a huge difference in sound quality. If original speakers are old or worn out, consider replacing them with high-quality aftermarket speakers.

#2. Get a better head unit: A head unit with built-in equalization and time correction features can help improve sound quality. You can also add a separate equalizer to your system to fine-tune the sound to your liking.

#3. Install a subwoofer: Adding a subwoofer to your car audio system can significantly enhance the sound quality, especially for bass-heavy music genres.

Understanding the Different Audio Codecs Available with Bluetooth

#1. The SBC (Subband Codec) is the most common audio codec used in Bluetooth devices. It provides basic audio quality and is supported by most Bluetooth devices.

#2. aptX is a higher-quality audio codec that offers improved sound quality over SBC. It provides more detail and clarity in the audio compared to SBC.

#3. aptX HD is a higher-quality version of aptX that provides even better audio quality than aptX. It supports 24-bit audio and is ideal for music streaming.

Tips for Optimizing Audio Quality When Using a Bluetooth Adapter

#1. Keep Bluetooth adapter and phone close to each other: The closer Bluetooth adapter and phone are to each other, the better the audio quality will be.

#2. Avoid obstructions: Avoid placing objects between Bluetooth adapter and phone, which can obstruct the signal and reduce audio quality.

#3. Use a direct connection: Whenever possible, use a direct connection between Bluetooth adapter and phone instead of connecting through other devices, such as a car stereo or a speaker.

#4. Choose a higher-quality audio codec: If your Bluetooth adapter and phone support it, choose a higher-quality one, such as aptX or aptX HD, to get the best audio quality.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Bluetooth Adapters

When using a Bluetooth adapter in your car, it is possible to encounter some issues. However, with some troubleshooting, you can quickly resolve these problems and get back to enjoying your music.

Below I listed common issues you might encounter with a Bluetooth adapter and tips for resolving them.

#1. Pairing Failures

If your phone is having trouble connecting to Bluetooth adapter, it could be due to a few reasons.

The first thing to check is the distance between your phone and the Bluetooth adapter. Bluetooth has a limited range, so if your phone is too far away, it won’t be able to connect. Try moving your phone closer to the adapter to see if that resolves the issue.

Another reason for pairing failure is if your Bluetooth adapter is connected to another device. In this case, disconnect from the other device and try connecting your phone again.

#2. Audio Dropouts

If you’re experiencing audio dropouts while streaming music through a Bluetooth adapter, you need to look at a few things.

The first thing to check is the quality of the audio file you’re trying to play. The audio may be more prone to dropouts if the file is low quality.

Additionally, other wireless devices in your car could be interfering with the Bluetooth connection, causing audio dropouts. Try turning off any other wireless devices to see if that resolves the issue.

#3. No Audio

If you’re not getting any audio from the Bluetooth adapter, the first thing to check is the volume on your phone and the car stereo.

If the volume is turned down, you won’t be able to hear any audio. Additionally, ensure that your phone is connected to the Bluetooth adapter and that the audio source is set to Bluetooth on your car stereo.

#4. Getting the Best Support

If you need help with a Bluetooth adapter, the best place to start is the manufacturer’s website.

Most manufacturers have a support section with frequently asked questions and other resources to help resolve your issue.

Additionally, you can contact the manufacturer directly through email or phone for more personalized support.

Upgrading Your Car Audio System with Bluetooth

Upgrading car audio with Bluetooth technology can significantly enhance overall audio quality and functionality. 

Adding Additional Components to Your Car Audio System

One of the ways to upgrade your car’s audio system is by adding additional components to it. There are several options for you to choose from, including:

#1. Bluetooth Adapters

Bluetooth adapters are a great way to add Bluetooth connectivity to your car’s stereo, allowing you to stream music from your phone or other devices wirelessly.

Some of the best Bluetooth adapters come with built-in FM transmitters that can connect to car radio and GPS navigation, which can help you find your way to your destination.

#2. Car Kits

A car kit is another way to add Bluetooth connectivity to your car audio system.

It usually comes in the form of a small device that can be installed on the back of your head unit, allowing you to connect your phone to your car’s audio system wirelessly.

#3. Wireless Transmitters

If you have an older car that doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity, a wireless transmitter can help you upgrade your audio system.

Enhancing the Functionality of Your Car Audio System with Smart Features

In addition to adding Bluetooth connectivity to your car audio system, you can enhance its functionality with smart features such as GPS navigation and hands-free calling.

#1. GPS Navigation

If you’re looking for a way to upgrade your car audio system, a built-in GPS navigation system can help you find your way to your destination.

This can be especially helpful if you’re in an unfamiliar area and your stereo does not have this feature.

#2. Hands-free Calling

Hands-free calling is another great feature to add to car audio system. It allows you to make and receive calls without taking your hands off the wheel, making it safer and more convenient.


Adding Bluetooth audio to your car is a great way to enhance your driving experience and bring audio system into the 21st century. With the variety of options available, from built-in Bluetooth to universal adapters and car kits, there’s a way for anyone to add Bluetooth to their vehicle.

The benefits of adding Bluetooth to your audio system are numerous. From hands-free phone calls to wirelessly streaming music, you’ll enjoy a more convenient and safer driving experience.

The installation process can vary depending on your chosen option, but with the right tools and guidance, it’s a project that most people can undertake on their own. Whether you decide to install a universal Bluetooth adapter or a car kit, you’ll find that the process is relatively straightforward.

So if you’re ready to get started on adding Bluetooth audio to your car, don’t wait.

With all its benefits, there’s no better time than now. You’ll love the convenience and versatility of Bluetooth audio, and your vehicle’s audio system will be transformed into a cutting-edge system that provides a superior listening experience.

Whether driving to work, taking a road trip, or cruising around town, your Bluetooth audio system will provide you with a seamless and enjoyable audio experience.


How Do I Add Bluetooth to My Car’s Stereo?

One way to add Bluetooth to car stereo is by installing a Bluetooth adapter. Some newer car stereos already have built-in Bluetooth functionality.

Another option is to install a universal Bluetooth car kit that can connect to your existing car stereo through the auxiliary input or an FM radio transmission.

What Kind of Kit Do I Need to Install Bluetooth in My Car?

You can buy a universal Bluetooth car kit, which includes a Bluetooth transmitter and receiver, or a head unit with built-in Bluetooth functionality. Choose a kit that is compatible with your car sound system and fits your budget.

Can I Add Bluetooth in My Car Myself, or Do I Need Professional Help?

You can install a Bluetooth car kit yourself with some basic tools and technical know-how.

However, if you’re not comfortable with the installation, it may be best to seek professional help to ensure that the kit is installed correctly.

Can I Stream Music From My Phone to My Car’s Audio System Using Bluetooth?

You can stream music from your phone to your car audio system via Bluetooth.

Once the Bluetooth kit is installed and connected to your phone, you can control the music playback from your phone and enjoy high-quality audio in your car.

Can I Use My Phone Hands-Free While Driving With Bluetooth in My Car?

With a Bluetooth car kit installed, you can make and receive phone calls hands-free while driving. 

The kit allows you to wirelessly connect your phone to your car audio system so you can use it hands-free for safer driving.

After Adding Bluetooth, Can I Use Any Bluetooth Device With My Car Sound System?

Most universal Bluetooth car kits will work with any Bluetooth-enabled device, including phones, tablets, and laptops.

However, it is always best to check the compatibility of the equipment with your specific device before purchasing.

What Should I Consider When Buying a Bluetooth Car Kit?

Consider the compatibility of the kit with your car audio system, the sound quality, and the ease of installation.

You may also want to consider additional features such as GPS navigation or FM radio transmission. Choose a kit that fits your budget and offers the parts you need.